Makhana

For centuries now, Makhana (fox nuts/lotus seeds) has been a traditional Indian snack hailed for its immense health benefits. Native to the aquatic plant Euryale ferox, Makhana has been a staple in Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cooking and is revered for its adaptogenic benefits.

In this ultimate guide, we take an in-depth look at Makhana, including its history and medicinal properties according to Ayurveda, and a nutrition overview. Let us dive deep into the Makhana nutritional value per 100g to unveil what makes them so healthy, hence an excellent dietary choice for the 21st century.

Did you know?

  1. Native to the aquatic plant Euryale ferox, Makhana has been a staple in Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cooking and is revered for its adaptogenic benefits.
  2. Makhana, also known as gorgon nuts, is basically a species of row-leaf plant that grows only in stagnant water bodies such as ponds and lakes in South-East Asia and China.
  3. The edible part of Makhana contains carotene, fat, moisture, carbohydrates, and minerals.
  4. Referring to the Makhana nutritional value per 100g, it can be learned that Makhana (raw) contains 362 kcal.
  5. Popped Makhana has 328 kcal per 100 gm.

Makhana: An overview

Makhana

Makhana, also known as gorgon nuts, is a species of row-leaf plant that grows only in stagnant water bodies such as ponds and lakes in South-East Asia and China. When the seeds of this plant are collected and processed, they turn into a delightful snack known as Makhana, which has been a prime food for people since ancient times.

Makhana is a highly labour-intensive commodity in India, and the seeds, once harvested, are sun-dried or popped to lend their characteristic crunchiness. Makhana is a traditional snack produced by roasting these seeds, which keeps them away from losing nutrients and imparts a special flavour to this tasty delicacy.

The edible part of Makhana contains carotene, fat, moisture, carbohydrates, and minerals.Here is a breakdown of the ingredients.  -

  • 1.4 mg/100 g of carotene
  • 12.8% moisture
  • 0.1% fat
  • 9.7% protein
  • 76.9% carbohydrates
  • 0.5% minerals 

Ayurvedic perspective on Makhana

In ancient Ayurvedic texts, Makhana was revered for its properties and benefits. Categorised as a "Shaka Varga", or water vegetable, Makhana is known to neutralise the three doshas in your body.

Makhana has a cooling property, which gives it its "Sheeta Veerya," it is very good for people with ‘Pitta Prakriti’ as per Ayurvedic science. Its ‘Guru’ or heavy property pacifies the Vata Dosha, while its Snigdha or oily quality nourishes the body.

Makhana is a well-known ingredient in Ayurveda and has been recommended for treating some health issues. It has also been used as an aphrodisiac and is believed to be a Vrushya (increaser of sexual potency), according to Ayurveda. It is also considered a ‘Garbha Sansthapaka’ or promoter of pregnancy. Additionally, Makhana is used as a brain tonic to ease the mind and give relief in conditions like insomnia. It may even slow down ageing because it has natural anti-ageing properties.

Nutritional values and health benefits of Makhana (per 100g)

Makhana is an excellent choice for people who prioritise eating healthy. This popular snack is tasty and offers several health benefits as it contains nutrients. Be it protein, calcium, iron or magnesium - it offers a complete range of important nutrients. Let’s take a look at the Makhana nutritional value per 100g -

Nutrient

Amount

Health benefits

Calories

362 kcal 

Energy sources, suitable for energy-intensive activities

Protein

9.7 g

Supports muscle growth and repair

Total Fat

0.1 g

Low fat; good for heart health

Carbohydrates

76.9 g

Primary source of energy

Dietary Fiber

14.5 g

Enhances digestive health, aids in weight management

Calcium

20 mg

Supports bone health, helps maintain optimal bone density

Iron

1.4 mg

Essential for haemoglobin formation, it supports healthy blood cells

Magnesium

76 mg

Vital for muscle and nerve function, supports the immune system

Phosphorus

200 mg

Important for the structure of cells and energy production

Potassium

350 mg

Helps control blood pressure, supports cardiovascular health

Sodium

5 mg

Vital for fluid balance, a low amount supports heart health

Zinc

1.3 mg

Boosts immune function, assists in wound healing and DNA synthesis

Thiamin

0.150 mg

Aids in energy production, important for nerve function

Riboflavin

0.043 mg

Supports energy production, important for eye and skin health

Niacin

1.250 mg

Improves cholesterol levels, supports skin health, aids digestion

Vitamin B6

0.200 mg

Important for brain health, helps produce hormones

Folate

31 µg

Crucial for cell division and pregnancy, supports mental health

Culinary uses of Makhana

Makhana

The practicality of Makhana does not limit its scope to health benefits. Instead, it can be used in various culinary forms. Makhana is usually eaten as a snack, which is made by roasting the makhana with spices or used in other sweet and savoury dishes.

As for how to eat Makhana, one of the easiest and most popular ways you will often see it served is after having been roasted (with a bit of oil) along with salt or chilli powder. This simple prep brings out the natural nutty flavour of Makhana.

It is generally used in Indian cuisine to prepare various dishes, e.g. curries, stir-fries or even desserts. It is used as a garnish in rice dishes or can be eaten with vegetables; it also doubles up for gravy by acting as a thickening agent. Makhana also can be converted into flour to make gluten-free bread, making the final product even more exotic with a new texture and flavour.

Comparative analysis: Makhana vs. other snacks

Let us now look at the nutritional value of Makhana per 100gand compare it with other popular snacks.

Snack type

Calories (per 100g)

Total fat (g)

Protein (g)

Dietary fiber (g)

Makhana

362

0.1

9.7

14.5

Almonds

576

49

21.2

12.5

Walnuts

654

65

15.2

6.7

Cashews

553

44

18.2

3.3

In the case of Makhana, unlike many popular snack options otherwise available in stores, there is substance and value. Nuts like almonds, walnuts and cashews are undoubtedly healthy, but Makhana is a clear winner given its low calorie and fat content.

Conclusion

Makhana is a superfood in the true sense of the word, not only due to its rich ancient roots as an Ayurvedic medicine but also because they are nutrient-dense and packed with plentiful health benefits that modern nutritionists just cannot overlook. 

FAQs

1. What is the calorie count of Makhana per 100g?

Referring to the makhana nutritional value per 100g, it can be learned thatMakhana (raw) contains 362 kcal. Popped Makhana has 328 kcal per 100 gm.

2. How does Makhana contribute to weight loss?

Makhana is low in calories and high in fibre. This helps promote feelings of fullness and can help in weight management.

3. Can Makhana be eaten daily? What are the recommended serving sizes?

Yes, Makhana can be consumed daily because it is a healthy snack. But, it is recommended to stick to moderate serving sizes of around 30-50g daily.

4. Are there any side effects of consuming Makhana?

Makhana is generally well-tolerated, but individuals with nut allergies or sensitive digestive systems should consume it in moderation and monitor for adverse reactions.

5. How does Makhana affect blood sugar levels?

Makhana's high fibre content helps slow the absorption of carbohydrates, making it a suitable snack option for individuals with diabetes or those looking to manage their blood sugar levels.

6. Is Makhana suitable for people with nut allergies?

Yes, Makhana is a seed, not a nut, and is generally safe for individuals with nut allergies. However, it's always best to consult a healthcare professional before introducing a new food.

7. How can Makhana be used in diabetic diets?

Makhana's low glycemic index, high fibre, and moderate carbohydrate content make it an excellent choice for individuals with diabetes. It can be incorporated into meals and snacks to help manage blood sugar levels.

8. What are the Ayurvedic benefits of eating Makhana during pregnancy?

In Ayurveda, Makhana is considered a "Garbha Sansthapaka," meaning it can promote a healthy pregnancy. It is believed to help nourish the foetus and support the mother's well-being.

9. Can Makhana help in improving skin health?

Yes, the antioxidants and protein present in Makhana can contribute to healthy skin by protecting against oxidative damage and supporting skin cell regeneration.

10. How does the high magnesium content in Makhana benefit health?

Magnesium is essential for various bodily functions, including muscle and nerve function, energy production, and immune system support. The high magnesium content in Makhana makes it a valuable addition to a balanced diet.

References -

  1. Native to the aquatic plant Euryale ferox, makhana has been a staple in Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cooking and is revered for its adaptogenic benefits.(https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  2. Makhana, also known as gorgon nuts, is basically a species of row-leaf plant that grows only in stagnant water bodies such as ponds and lakes in South-East Asia and China. (https://www.researchgate.net)
  3. The edible part of Makhana contains carotene, fat, moisture, carbohydrates, and minerals(https://www.researchgate.net/)
  4. Referring to the makhana nutritional va100g, lue per an it cbe learned that makhana (raw) contains 362 kcal (https://www.researchgate.net)
  5. Popped Makhana has 328 kcal per 100 gm. (https://www.researchgate.net)

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Zandu Ayurvedic Team

Zandu Ayurvedic Team has a panel of over 10 BAMS (Ayurvedacharya), boasting a collective experience of over 50 years. With a deep-rooted understanding of Ayurveda, they are committed to sharing their expertise & knowledge through our blogs.
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